Wednesday, January 25, 2012

January Secret Agent #28

TITLE: The Desolate Road
GENRE: YA Dystopian

Soldiers would come for me. If I got caught.

Not that I planned on getting caught, especially in the middle of school. How base would that be?
I surveyed the computer screens that enclosed me like a shimmering, lidless box, hiding me from the others in my fitness class. The blank screens dulled my reflected image, but not my eyes. Brown and serious, just like my father’s.

His eyes used to crinkle when he smiled. I’d loved that about him. Crinkling eyes. No one else had a smile quite like his.

 “Connect to the Server,” I said. That would be my only verbal command. The floorcomp was here to provide whatever Sim I wanted to use for my fitness class. Verbal commands would alert the teacher I wasn’t doing my normal simulation.

I moved to one of the touchscreens and opened the secured Military database. What were they hiding this time?

Living in the capital entitled me to watch any Channel, so I’d noticed the signs that a secret was being kept. The twitch in the mayor’s ear when she sat at dinner with her family. The alert stance of the War Minister while watching the nightly Promo. Like they expected something to happen any second. Something the Global President wasn’t ready to tell us—probably something the people didn’t care enough to hear.

And it was more than just the recent earthquakes.

My fingers tingled in anticipation as I began to hack.


  1. I really like the first lines. Ooh, a rebel...what is this person doing? That entices me to keep reading. I also like how you set up so much about your character and the world without being boring about it. The info is all part of the flow of the start of the story. One thing that I do notice is that I don't know the gender of the character. I tend to associate hackers as guys but the way the character mentions the father seems more like a daughter.
    I would definitely keep reading!

  2. Good start, you have a nice approach to world building, which is so important for the dystopian genre.

    What I'd suggest is bring in a tiny bit more tension as she tries to access the program, and maybe tell us what could happen if she does get caught, too.

    I'd keep reading for sure:)

  3. I think there's a bit of nitpicking needed when it comes to your flow and the narrative. "Soldiers would come for me, but only if I got caught." might flow better? And I'm not sure if "how base would that be?" is some sort of slang, because I don't understand what the "base" here would refer to. But these are just my opinions! I'm intrigued to know what she's going to hack, and what she's going to find out!

  4. The PPs are calling the narrator a she, but I felt like it was a he. Maybe you should clarify this a bit.

    I don't know, I want to like this one, but I'm having trouble and I'm not exactly sure why. Real helpful, huh? I love YA Dystopian, and I like that the character is doing something rebellious, but I don't care for the way you explain what he is looking for. It feels muddled to me. But that's just my opinion. I would be interested to see what he finds.

  5. I loved the first two lines and the last one. I think you did a great job building tension right out of the gate.

    It's not a genre I read, but I found this enjoyable.

  6. I liked this, except for the lines about eyes. If your MC is about to hack into a secure military database, would they really be thinking about the colour of their eyes, or their father's eyes? I also think this would be better if it started at 'The computer screens enclosed me...' Get straight into the action, and cut 'I surveyed'.

  7. I really like the last line! I'd suggest revising the first line as another person said, shortening some of the back story- I found I always added too much back story & when I began to focus on the action in the first chapter, I was able to increase the tension/mystery,etc. Maybe a little too many adjectives. I like shorter sentences to build tension, but this certainly did that:)

  8. I agree with the other comments that I didn't know whether this was a boy or girl. If this comes out soon, then I'm okay with it. The first two sentences are hard, and need to be reworked. I like the idea, but smooth it out a bit.

    I'd definitely keep reading!

  9. Intriguing. It peaks the curiosity from the get-go, which is key. I also like the confidence. The character is aware of the consequences of hacking, but kind of shrugs them off. I like it. Too many dystopians now use fear heavily. Fear is important, but I think they miss that a dystopian society is still society. You've lived in it. You know the ins and outs. It makes the character more relatable.

  10. I like the hook, I'm interested in what's going on right away. I also agree that I enjoy the confidence of the MC. I would keep reading!

  11. It gives just the right amount of information so that you know what is going on. It also leaves out just enough information to keep your interest. I like how the character is very perceptive and that also adds interesting material for reading. I'd love to read more.

  12. Excellent! I want more! Great start, the only confusing sentence for me was "how base would that be", but that might just be me and my weird self. Really interesting, cannot wait to read it all! Love Dew!

  13. I reacted similarly to another dystopian opening posted this's always tough establishing a new world without explaining it in a cumbersome fashion, but it really does feel like the main character is explaining everything to me, rather than telling me a story ("The floorcomp was here to provide whatever Sim I wanted to use for my fitness class. Verbal commands would alert the teacher I wasn't doing my normal simulation.") I'd focus on being a bit more patient with new world details, introducing as many of them as possible through character interaction (showing!) rather than telling...